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Janmashtami – Happy Birthday of Lord Krishna to Mankind

Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna. It is also referred as Gokulashtami or Krishnaashtami or Sri Jayanti. Like the numerous names of the festival, Janmashtami is going to celebrate on September 1, 2010. The true significance of Sri Krishna is that he is relevant in the present and even more relevant for the future.

Happy JanmastamiA twenty-four hour fast is observed on Sri Krishna Jayanti and this is broken at midnight. The most important mantra recited on the day is ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.’ This can be done while performing pujas or throughout the day. Pujas involve offering flowers and performing Arati. Reciting or listening to Srimad Bhagavad Purana or Bhagavatam is highly auspicious on the day.

The main worship in temples takes place at midnight when Lord Krishna was born. Temples and Hindu spiritual organizations conduct special bhajans and kirtan sessions. Processions with children dressed as Sri Krishna, Radha and Gopis are held on the occasion. Stories of Krishna are enacted on the day. In a twenty-four hour time span, we remember Sri Krishna superficially and quite often forget his true teachings.

Significance of Shri KrishnaThe significance of Sri Krishna is that he used his life to explain to us the great teachings in Upanishads. In true sense, he is the Upanishad man. He lived in the moment. He was not an escapist from life. He accepted life in its entirety. He made life a celebration. He was the ever smiling god and that smile continues to conquer millions of hearts. Throughout, his life there was music and just before getting killed by the hunter’s bow he was playing the flute. Music and that immortal smile were present in his death.

Sri Krishna is full of life. He showed us the way to live in the modern society. He showed us the concept – that life is continuity. He taught us to remain detached and neutral. Live in the moment and life will be a celebration.

It must be remembered here that Lord Krishna is happy with anything that is offered to him in true devotion. Krishna was happy with sweat drenched beaten rice offered by Kuchela or Sudama. He was happy with the last leaf left in Draupadi’s Akashaypatra. He was content with the gruel in Vidura’s (Dhritarashtra’s minister in Mahabharata) home.

So, one need not indulge in complex rituals to please Krishna. Just the japa ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’ rendered devotionally is more than enough.

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